Tuesday, February 28, 2012

So You Want To Give The Baby A Bath ...

Let's give the baby a bath.  Could it sound any easier?  Any more relaxing?  Any more innocuous?  Of course not; it sounds like the epitome of  "cake walk."  Moreover, does not introducing a bathing schedule for your little bundle of joy make perfect sense?  I mean, is not cleanliness next to godliness, etc and so forth?  The problem is not with the concept (which my semi-rhetorical questions rightfully laud), but with the reality.  You see, no matter how much you prepare and stage for the bath, your baby is going to make sure it is an adventure.  Why?  Because no plan, regardless of how well conceived and meticulously drawn, survives contact with the enemy little bastards, whom just love keeping us on our toes (I keep telling people, forget the What to Expect series, just read Sun Tzu to prepare for child rearing).

The support for my only slightly hyperbolic, but wholly plausible, claim?  Glad you asked.  Behold my scientifically relevant (not at all) and mathematically sound (who are we kidding) listing of the potential outcomes of attempting to give your newborn a bath.  Please note that the list is in order of descending probability, because we might as well start with the sure things and work our way down to the item so unlikely that it has only ever been substantiated by anecdotal evidence proffered by weary travellers around a camp-fire (much like Big Foot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster and Reasonably Priced Gas):

1) Something will make the baby cry and thrash.  Now, this would not be anywhere near as entertaining if you knew what it was that was going to make the child cry, or even if the same thing made them cry each time.  No, it is a journey through the heart of quantum random number generation.  Being put in the water makes baby cry ... no wait, it doesn't.  Having water splash on the baby's face is fine ... no wait, it is cause for melt-down.  Being disrobed for the bath brings forth the sound of a banshee, no wait, only kidding, disrobing is A OK ... no wait, now it causes two banshees to have a shouting match while fighting over an air-raid siren someone left blaring ... no, never mind, being naked is fine.  Each day brings a new cause for the cacophony, except for the one day when he's absolutely fine for the entire bath ... but starts wailing the moment you take him out of the water.  Son of a ...

2) The baby will pee.  On you, in the tub, on the side of the sink, on the counter ... it's going to go somewhere.  When will the baby pee you ask?  I have no idea.  Sometimes it is when you first put them in the water.  Makes sense, right?  Warm water hits the privates and bam, the baby pees.  Except, sometimes the baby can sit there for a few minutes before peeing, so it isn't the rush of the warm water maybe.  But then sometimes he pees while you are disrobing him before ever getting near the bathtub, which may be caused the by cold air hitting the baby ... however there are also the fun times when he pees on Daddy when proud Papa is standing holding the baby waiting to take him to the bath and Mommy stands there rightfully laughing her head off.  Oh, and there are also days when there is no pee around bath time.  So, essentially, I have no blessed idea when or why exactly there is going to be pee, but there is going to be pee 85% of the time.

3) The baby might poop in the tub.  This one moved up the list thanks to an incident just this week.  "Unfortunately," I was not home to witness the event, but My Wife was (obviously), and so here it is: you put the baby in the bath, go to lather the tyke up, but before you can say "don't you pee in the bath this time" lo and behold ... he has pooped in the water.  Explanations for the phenomenon range from the sensible (the warm water hitting the baby's bottom and tummy relax the sphincter and ... poop), to the plausible (crying tenses the baby's intestinal tract and ... poop), to the paranoid (the little bastards want to mess with us and ... poop).  Hey, I warned you that an overwhelming number of posts would involve this stuff; truth in advertising is all I can say.

4) You could get soaked.  The trick to this entry is not the soaking, because, let's face it, you are putting a baby in tub full of water; if you have any sense, the thought "I may get wet here" has to cross your mind.  No, the reason for this making the list is that you are going to cause the situation more often than the baby does.  Sure, he may splash a little, but that isn't what is going to get you.  Nope, what gets you is that you will either: (a) panic that you may lose your grasp on the wet baby and consequently hold the soaked child tightly to yourself; (b) go to dump the water out of the tub, but miscalculate the amount of water and get a huge back-splash in the sink (oh, yeah, I'm the only one to do this); or (c) get peed on by the tyke as you stand there waiting to put him in the tub as your spouse laughs their head off (hey, soaked is soaked).

5) The baby gets bathed.  It's a pipe dream people.  You manage to get water and a little bit of soap on the wiggle worm, call it a victory.

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